New Year; New Beginnings

 It is a new year, and with a new year comes new year’s resolutions. We all have to think of things in our lives we’d like to really change. Some of us claim the usual, “I’m going to lose x amount of pounds,” or the good old, “I’m going to work less so I can be closer to my family.” Granted, most resolutions are made in a drunken haze in which everyone wants to better themselves more than each other. But for once wouldn’t we like to make a resolution we know we can actually stick with? How about making a resolution that instead of changing who we are (by appearance) for others, but to just be ourselves. Maybe we should instead try to improve who we are to be the best possible version of ourselves? Because frankly, I find myself pretty awesome, and you should too.  So this year let’s work on being ourselves. Let’s have fun, try new things; let our true selves shine. Do things that excite and improve ourselves:

Travel

anywhere you haven’t been before. A new country, a new state, a new city. Is there some type of festival a few towns over that sounds interesting? Get out of your comfort zone and take a trip to learn new customs. See what it’s like on the other side; learn new traditions, taste new food, culture yourself. You might like what you see.

Try something new. Anything.

 

 Always wanted to learn a certain language? How about wanting to learn how to ski, or sew, or even something simple like baking certain desserts? Set your goal on something that truly peaks your interest enough that you won’t quit halfway through. Set aside time (yes, we all have hectic schedules, but time can be found somewhere) to accomplish these goals. Not only will you learn better time management, but you’ll be learning something new and having fun in the process. Just think of how accomplished you’ll feel when you’ve finally mastered that hard yoga move, or how delicious that dish tastes knowing you made it from scratch.

Donate/Volunteer.

 Don’t just donate money and think that you’re done. Donate your TIME. Volunteering is one of the greatest experiences you will ever have. You don’t have to go to Africa or build houses in New Orleans. There are volunteering options everywhere; local soup kitchens, charity events,  children’s hospitals, and nursing homes that are always looking for visitors and helpers for events and holidays. The experience will change your life. Not only will you appreciate your own life by seeing how the other half lives, but you’ll learn there is always someone who has it worse. You’ll learn never to mistreat or belittle any stranger because you don’t know what their situation might be. And the joy you bring to these strangers faces is the most beautiful and powerful image you will ever witness.

So let’s resolve this year to better ourselves by being ourselves, and doing things that’ll only improve us. Throw out these ridiculous resolutions to make ourselves look better for others and that just really make us feel like utter crap. Let’s take this new year and show everyone how awesome we really are. Good luck, I’ll be with you the whole way!

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Life & Death: the existential crises

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” 

Robert Frost certainly knew what he was talking about. I feel as if we, the general public, have become so desensitized when it comes to death because it is everywhere that we don’t even notice anymore. Mind you, I might seem off topic and running different paths at once, but it is all connected. Isn’t it? Death is everywhere in life. We survivors (used in its lamest form of the word) just have to keep moving on. Life doesn’t stop for anyone.

But do we move on too quickly? Do we even feel sad anymore when we see death on the news? Do we mourn for the lives of the innocent being brutally taken away everyday? The lives of children being so nonchalantly thrown away by their parents, as if a piece of trash. Does that not sicken-infuriate us? Is it simply because it is an almost weekly occurrence that it doesn’t phase us anymore? What about the adolescent, children, taking their own lives because they haven’t fully grown into the life they are meant for. A life that is too cruel to handle, they feel they must take rash actions to solve a temporary problem with the most permanent solution. Because their juvenile brains are fully developed enough to understand how precious their really is. Because they have no one to show them that it really can get better. Do we cry for them? Are we upset in even the slightest when we hear another soldier has lost their life while fighting for ours?Is a single tear ever shed while watching the news or hearing about these tragedies? Why have we become so immune to the sadness? Isn’t sympathy and empathy woven in our DNA?Is that not what makes us humane? Or is it more of a choice; a switch we can just turn on or off?

In my own personal experience, I’ve come to notice that I am not as moved as I feel I should be. I will certainly admit to answering no- I don’t cry or mourn for these lives ended. Am I shocked-by some instances, yes. Is it sad-yes. But to claim it takes an emotional tole on me would be a lie. And if you were to answer yes to all of the above questions you would be a liar. Because they’re strangers does that mean I shouldn’t care? Of course not. In my personal experience I feel that I have fallen in line with our society, and become desensitized with death, because it is so common. I’ve lost friends-family, and yet it is still not shocking or emotionally exhausting as it should be. I’ve lost two battle buddies down range (Afghanistan) fighting, deaths that couldn’t be prevented but slightly predicting. Their losses weren’t reported on the news. Maybe because there was something more important like Miley Cyrus twerking those days. I even had one survive the war, to come home and be killed by some imbecile who thought it was okay to get behind the wheel after a few dozen shots. I found out about her through facebook. Everyone did the usual, “R.i.P.” and “I can’t believe she’s gone,” but everything went back to normal the next day. In high school an acquaintance of mine, a pretty well-known and well liked guy, took his life three months after graduation. The shock of it all swept across the kids of that class, but nothing major happened to the community. A small town with a population of about 14,000 people didn’t even acknowledge the loss of a young resident. There was no candlelight vigil, no school memorial; with only a tiny obituary in the local paper and a Facebook page to memorialize him. And of course every year on his anniversary we all log on, write a heartfelt post to him as routine. It’s not that we don’t miss him-that’s not it at all. Of course some closer to him feel the blow more than others. I just have this feeling that we as a society move on so quickly because we have programmed death in our lives as an everyday phenomenon. It shouldn’t be so lackadaisical. We should feel, mourn, these innocent lives taken away from us at such a young age. We should be disgusted at these acts of violence such as that of Sandy Hook, Columbine, Boston marathon, and the many more like them. They shouldn’t just be trending topics on twitter for five minutes and be done with. We as a society, a community, should be more aware of our fellow human beings, and care a little more. Or is that just me? Life goes on- there is no set time limit.

When Will Enough Be Enough?

I was just thinking today on all the different forms of “mental illness/diseases.” We live in a world where people are constantly being diagnosed with ridiculous amounts of mental “illnesses,” but are they really sick at all? They say kids who just don’t want to concentrate on homework have ADD. Or is it the fact they are children with parents who would rather blame an illness than teach their kids some discipline? People having a few bad days are considered “depressed”. Why can’t people just be sad for a day without drugs being crammed down their throat? I understand completely when someone is truly depressed, and they do need immediate help. But can’t a person just be sad, and that be OK? You like your house to look a certain way? You must have OCD. I didn’t realize I can’t just like to know where my things are. Why the sudden rush to drug everyone up without trying to look for a better way to handle things? Have we really gotten to the point where we have to blame everything we do on an “illness” instead of taking a good look at ourselves? Pretty soon the entire world will be so high on prescription drugs people won’t even be able to recognize themselves in the mirror. Maybe they won’t want to. People will all be so oblivious, maybe they won’t care. Ignorance is bliss, right? Why try and solve our own problems when there’s a drug that can help? I’m not saying that mental illness isn’t real, or that it isn’t a very important subject matter. All I’m saying is when is enough going to be enough? When will history repeat itself so we can all go back to the times when we actually didn’t blame an illness, and actually worked through our own problems?

~Summer Reading List~

I get really excited when I actually have time to read a book that was not assigned to me. So now that it is summer, and I recently graduated college, my summer is free to get some serious reading (and writing) done. I’ve started compiling a list of books, some I have read, some I have not, for me to read this summer. Here is the list so far:

  • The Ocean At the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman (a fantastic writer in my opinion)
  • The Eternal Wonder- Pearl S. Buck 
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake- Aimee Baker (I have started this book a few times, but I will finish it, even if it kills me)
  • The Art of Fiction-Henry James
  • A Clockwork Orange (read and seen the movie)
  • A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius- Dave Eggers
  • The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini 

That is the list so far, I might add on a bit later. I’m looking to different types of literature to help me with a sense in the direction I go with my writing. Each book I read, I will review and take down any writing or life lessons learned in said book. Because, well, we all know how much the books we read impact us. And for those that don’t, now you do. Great pieces of literature sticks with us. Teaching us some of life’s greatest lessons.  It shapes us into who we will be, and can be good help when we know what we want to become. As James Bryce once said, “The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.”

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SO, readers…read on!

Bloggity, blog, blog….Is This Thing On?

Hello world! Or at least, the internet world, full of twitterers,pinners, facebookers, and bloggers. I’ve never done this before, so be kind. First thing’s first, I am an aspiring writer, so this blog will be for posting interesting (or at least somewhat interesting to me) stories both fictional and non-fictional. Maybe I’ll even throw in some reviews of books, movies, etc. Boy, aren’t I nice? But, no, seriously,I  hope there are some people out there that might actually read this. And for you few, dear readers, please enjoy!